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Rabbi Arthur Segal’s love of people, humanity, and Judaism has him sharing with others “The Wisdom of the Ages” that has been passed on to him. His writings for modern Jews offer Spiritual, Ethical, and eco-Judaic lessons in plain English and with relevance to contemporary lifestyles. He is the author of countless articles, editorials, letters, and blog posts, and he has recently published two books:

The Handbook to Jewish Spiritual Renewal: A Path of Transformation for the Modern Jew

and

A Spiritual and Ethical Compendium to the Torah and Talmud

You can learn more about these books at:

www.JewishSpiritualRenewal.org
ALL ENTRIES ARE (C) AND PUBLISHED BY RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL JEWISH SPIRITUAL RENEWAL, INC, AND NOT BY ANY INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEE OF SAID CORPORATION. THIS APPLIES TO 3 OTHER BLOGS (CHUMASH, ECO, SPIRITUALITY) AND WEB SITES PUBLISHED BY SAID CORPORATION.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

JEWISH SPIRITUAL RENEWAL: EX: 18- 20: YITRO: MIDIAN PRIEST: RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL

JEWISH SPIRITUAL RENEWAL:  EX: 18- 20: YITRO: MIDIAN PRIEST: RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL
 
 

RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL: JEWISH SPIRITUALITY : YITRO:TEN COMMANDMENTS BELONG TO ALL

RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL: JEWISH SPIRITUALITY : YITRO: TEN COMMANDMENTS BELONG TO ALL PEOPLE

RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL: JEWISH SPIRITUALITY: PARASHA YITRO: TEN COMMANDMENTS; JETHRO


CHUMASH CANDESCENCE
PARASHA YITRO
EXODUS 18:01 TO 20:23

Rabbi Arthur Segal www.jewishspiritualrenewal.org 
Via Shamash Org on-line class service
Jewish Renewal www.jewishrenewal.info 
Jewish Spiritual Renewal
Jewish Spirituality
Eco Judaism
Hilton Head Island, SC, Bluffton, SC, Savannah, GA

"RECLAMATION AND REVELATION"

Imagine, if you will, a movie trailer advertisement that yells loudly at you as your popcorn flies into your lap:"Coming in Technicolor---Charleton Heston staring as Moses in "JETHRO"!!!! This week's parasha takes the 
children of Israel to Mt. Sinai for the Revelation, the giving of the Ten Commandments and Torah. Yet the portion is not named after these Ten  Utterances, but after Moses' father-in-law, Jethro, a Midianite priest.

Our rabbis teach that God chose the wilderness of Sinai to reveal Torah so that no one nation could say "Torah was given in OUR country," so it is fitting in this regard that this Torah portion was named after a person who was not a "member of the tribe."

Our rabbis also teach that all of the 613 commandments given in the Torah all stem from one or more of the Big Ten. Even the law against gossiping is said to be stealing a man's reputation and actually murdering him. Of
the 613 mitzvoth, most cannot be performed today as there is no Holy Temple, and many other mitzvoth are only valid in the original territories of the twelve tribes or if the Sanhedrin (Jewish court) has jurisdiction. (The
Sanhedrin has not functioned fully since the Roman conquest.) As individuals we need to reclaim the revelation for ourselves so that we can perform those
mitzvoth that help us remember to adhere to the Ten Commandments.

The universality of our religion was promoted by our prophets. By their time, no longer was God thought of as the tribal protector-judge of Israel. Our teachings, in part, were co-opted by Christianity and Islam. Maimonides stated that the popularity of Christianity and Islam are part of God's plan to spread the ideals of Torah throughout the world. The Ten Commandments move society closer to a perfected state of morality and
toward a greater understanding of God. Western law and democracy finds its roots in Torah.

This premise leads to some interesting conclusions as we are now into the third Gregorian millennium. In a thought provoking article in Tikkun Magazine (Nov.-Dec. 1999), Rabbi Rami Shapiro, of Miami's Temple Beth Or
and director of the Shema Center for Jewish Mediation makes five points, which I have elaborated or amended.

1. We need to stop thinking in terms of Jews and "non-Jews." We must cease defining people by what they are not and begin to understand them for what they are. There are Hindus, secularists, Muslims, Buddhists,
Christians, atheists, etc. And we need to stop labeling them as non-Jews, Gentiles, or worse yet "goyem."

2. We need as Jews to remember as we read this Torah portion that we all stood at Mt. Sinai when God declared us to be a holy, set aside, people. God did not command us to be Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, or
Reconstructionist. We need to direct our energies away from labeling each other and away from denominational competition. We need to focus on what we have in common and not on man-made walls and rules that keep us apart.

 

There are two types of Jews: serious and not serious. Serious Jews, Rabbi Shapiro continues, range from the most halachic to the most humanist. We share a love of a commitment to Jewish civilization, the basics of which
we read in this week's Torah portion.

3) We need to develop a similar service and liturgy that brings us closer to God and not puts us into a paper chase to read every last prayer in a rushed and non-meaningful way. Talmud Berachot makes it very clear that Kavenah (concentrated intention and attention) is the most important element of prayer and that an abbreviated version of prayer said in one's vernacular is more meaningful than a rushed full prayer said in a
language one does not understand. We need to create a new liturgy that opens us to God in our prayers and to each other as a united, loving,
caring community.

4. We need, to quote Rabbi Shapiro, "to mainstream the mystical." There are three fundamental aspects to Judaism: culture, ethics, and spirituality. For the past fifty years, Rabbi Shapiro posits, we have emphasized the
first often at the expense of the last. One no longer has to be Jewish to enjoy Levy's Rye Bread, but we as Jews have failed to make Jewish practice compelling. We must reclaim the inner life of Judaism and speak to our souls in a powerful and mystical way. We need to recapture the
feeling Abraham had when he prayed to God and not let the walls that we built over the millennia keep us from God. By living spiritually and walking humbly with God, as our prophet Micah suggested, and remembering
what was taught in this week's parasha, we will not only be good to  ourselves, but also to our community, and our society. Tikkun olam, repairing the world, can really only begin when we repair our own souls.

5. Last, when we read Parasha Yitro, we must remember the light we were (and still are) and were meant to be to the other nations. We need to reclaim Yeshu the Jew, as opposed to Jesus the Christ. Let's face it, Yeshu is the most influential Jew of all time. We have allowed the
horrors done to us (and others) in his name to prevent us from claiming him as one of our own. Yeshu was a first-century Jewish mystic, reformer, and perhaps even a healer. We need to understand not the religion about
Jesus, but our OWN religion, which was the religion of Yeshu.

So many of the things that are originally Jewish, but that the Church does well, we as Jews shy away from as "non-Jewish or goyish." We, as Jews, need to develop healing services. We need to have mitzvah or ahavath
chesed committees to help the rabbi do his work within our community the way churches have pastoral committees. When disaster strikes, let our shuls be open to provide shelter and food. This is not just a  Christian-thing, this is a Jewish-thing.

So, to close, as we listen to the Torah read this Shabbat let us individually and communally vow to personalize the Revelation and reclaim for our use and for our doing all that is truly Jewish.

Shabbat Shalom,
RABBI ARTHUR SEGAL

Rabbi Arthur Segal www.jewishspiritualrenewal.org 
Via Shamash Org on-line class service
Jewish Renewal www.jewishrenewal.info 
Jewish Spiritual Renewal
Jewish Spirituality
Eco Judaism
Hilton Head Island, SC, Bluffton, SC, Savannah, GA
If visiting SC's Low Country, contact us for a Shabbat meal, in our home by the sea, our beth yam.
Maker of Shalom (Oseh Shalom) help make us deserving of Shalom beyond all human comprehension!


Overheard at a local retirement community : One mitzvah can change the world, two will exhaust you.

RABBI DR ARTHUR SEGAL
www.JewishSpiritualRenewal.com/books www.FaceBook.com/Arthur.L.Segal www.FaceBook.com/RabbiArthurSegalJewishSpiritualRenewal www.RabbiArthurSegal.blogspot.com
Jewish Spiritual Renewal
Jewish Renewal
Jewish Spirituality
Hilton Head Island, SC; Bluffton, SC; Savannah, GA